Category: Stories & Poems

STORIES TO INSPIRE: NINTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

Four Year Old (out of the mouths’ of babes)

A mother invited a few of her neighbors over for a dinner party. The day turned out to be blistering hot. Finally, freshened and make-up applied, she sat at her table as hostess. With a welcoming smile she turned to her 4 year old son, Johnny, whose brilliance she wanted to show off to her neighbors. “Johnny,” she said, “please say the blessing.”

“I don’t know what to say,” said Johnny. “Oh, just say what you hear me say,” she encouraged.

Johnny reluctanly bowed his head, folded his hands over his heart, closed his eyes, and prayed, “Oh Lord, why did I invite these stuffy people over on such a hot humid day”

QUEEN MARY (Looks can be deceiving)

The Queen Mary was the largest ship to cross the oceans when it was launched in 1936. Through four decades and a World War she served until she was retired, anchored as a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, California.

During the conversion, her three massive smokestacks were taken off to be scraped down and repainted. But shockingly, on the dock they crumbled. Rust had eaten the 3/4 inch steel away over the years. All that really remained was 30 coats of paint and rust. The steel had rusted away.

When Jesus called the Pharisees “Whitewashed tombs,” He meant they had no substance, only an exterior appearance.

King Not Attending (We might fool others, even ourselves, but we can’t fool God.)

Francois Fenelon was the court preacher for King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century. One Sunday when the king and his attendants arrived at the chapel for the regular service, no one else was there but the priest. King Louis demanded, “What does this mean?” Fenelon replied, “I had published that you would not come to church today. I wanted your Majesty to see who serves God, and who comes to impress the King.

CARDINAL LEGER (An Example For All.)

Do you remember Paul Emile Cardinal Léger? At one time he was one of the most powerful men in Canada, and in our Church. Then one day he laid aside his red vestments and stately hat, the office in Montreal and Quebec City, and went to Africa. Years later a journalist found him living among the lepers and the disabled – the outcasts of a small African village.

When the Canadian journalist asked him, “Why?” He said,“It will be the great scandal of the history of our century that 600 million people are eating well and living luxuriously, and three billion people starve, and every year millions of children are dying of hunger. I am too old to change all that. The only thing I can do which makes sense is to be present. I must simply be in the midst of them. So, just tell people in Canada that you met an old priest. I am a priest who is happy to be old and still a priest and among those who suffer. I am happy to be here and to take them into my heart.”

The Prophet Micah – God’s Will For Us

What is Jesus saying in this weeks Gospel (Matt, 7:21-27)? What has God been asking of humanity through time? The Prophet Micah’s words are tremendously insightful when pondering this question:

“He has told you, O mortal, what is good.”

And what is that? What does God want,” some one asks?

“…to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

THE BOTTOM LINE:

We can form our children’s hearts.

We can judge and change our own.

The hearts of others, we shalt not judge!

Yet, we can inspire the hearts of many

by what is in our own.

 



		

The Benefits of Sin

ideasPassingStrange as this title may be, it does not condone sin, but points to moments of conversion. The following is an excerpt from an email sent by Sr. Joan Chittister to subscribers to Benetvision.

“It is not that sin is not sin. It is simply that sin is not the end of the world?and, in fact, may actually be the beginning of a number of things that can be gained hardly any other way in life and without which life is a pitiful place. A bout with greed may be precisely what teaches us the freedom of poverty. A struggle with lust may well be what, in the end, teaches us about the real nature of love. A strong dose of anger may be what it takes to teach us the beauty of gentleness.

There are, in other words, things to be learned from sin. One is compassion. Another is understanding. A third is humility. A fourth is perception. Without the ability to own our own sins, these qualities are all hard to come by indeed.

Sin gears us to suffer with those who suffer from the folly of their own weaknesses because we have smarted from the folly of our own. Once we can admit our own sins, once we face those things in ourselves that if ever brought to light would be our social downfall, we can companion those for whom the darkness of night has not been so kind. Sin enables us to understand the murderer, to deal justly with the criminal, to control the passion for blood that masks the sins of the righteous with a patina of virtue.

In the end, however, it may be humility and perception that are the best consequences?the intended consequences?of the surfeit of sin. Humility not only identifies us with the human race and confirms the earthiness of the human condition, but it erodes the very basis for hierarchy as well. Humility knows that there are no lords-of-the-manor at all; no one of us at all entitled to subject the rest of us; nobody at all good enough or pure enough to evaluate the rest of us. We are all in struggle. We are all attempting to kill within ourselves the very toxins that poison the human race in general. We are all at the mercy of the God of mercy. We can all learn something from one another.

Among the Hasidic tales one stands out for its compassion. ?Once upon a time,? the tale tells, ?the Jews of a very pious congregation criticized their rabbi for giving money to the town ne?er-do-well, whose use of the coins, the people knew, would not be for good. ?What?? the rabbi said, ?Shall I be more finicky in the giving of this coin than was God who gave it to me???

What we really need to kill in life may not be sin at all. What we may really need to avoid like the plague may be the temptation to a bare and brutal sinlessness that threatens us with heartlessness, the greatest sin of all.”
— from There Is A Season by Joan Chittister (Orbis)

Snow’s Inspiration – A Christmas Gift

Winter Dec

 

Most of you know that I visit my family’s property in Quebec fairly often. I arrived at my cabin in the woods late this Advent Sunday afternoon feeling pretty rotten. I’d been on antibiotics for a couple of weeks and seemed to be coming down with a new bug – aching and feverish. After a restless night’s sleep, I looked out the window on Monday to discover over two feet of fresh snow, and no signs of the snow plow. Next day, feeling a bit better, I had to get busy. This is a series of photos I posted on facebook (sort of like one long Christmas Card)Â for family and friends. My sister, who now lives in Switzerland, suggested I join this summer, so that I could keep in touch. Here it is.